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Articles Tagged with white plains elder law

Part of the important tasks of caregivers in nursing homes is the care of wounds. Many patients have wounds of various types. Staff members must take note of any scrapes, lacerations, pressure ulcers, or other wounds, and take steps to properly treat them. This wound care is part of the daily assistance that should be provided at nursing homes and other care facilities.

Identify Wounds

The first step in treating wounds in nursing home patients is to identify them. It may not always be easy to recognize medical problems. For this reason, caregivers need to be properly trained to watch for wounds on nursing home patients. Some residents are more susceptible to wounds than others. This increased risk factor should be noted in their records so that staff members are more careful to watch for these types of problems.

Spendthrift trusts are a type of irrevocable trust in which the grantor seeks to leave property or assets to a beneficiary, under the terms they outline, by which the beneficiary cannot alter, because they have no legal claim to the trust property. An irrevocable trust is a type of trust by which the beneficiary cannot modify the terms of the trust without the first obtaining the permission of the grantor.

Irrevocable trusts allow the grantor to create this trust document in which they transfer their rights to the property into the trust and the trustee, a third party manager of the trust, now technically holds legal title, until the trust allows for vestment in the beneficiaries. Beneficiaries are not the only ones who lack control in these trust situations; in an irrevocable trust, once it is created, the grantor cannot undo the trust to obtain title to the property without first getting the consent of the trustee and beneficiaries.

When To Use a Spendthrift Trust

NURSING HOME WORKERS POSTINGS

The December 21, 2015 edition of the Washington Post and had a lead story of nursing home workers allegedly posting “humiliating and dehumanizing” photos on various social media websites, such as snapchat and others. If these allegations are true, they are potentially evidence of a violation of certain patient privacy laws. Washington Post reported on a ProPublica investigation and co-published the story on the same date. The investigation revealed at least 35 documented instances where a nursing home employee secretly took a picture or even a video of a nursing home resident in a humiliating or degrading light and posted them online. 16 of the 35 instances were with snapchat, where the picture appears for a short period of time and then disappears, with no lasting digital trail or record.

Some of the postings led to criminal charges in California. There is always the potential for federal criminal or civil liability charges if the allegations are true. As noted in previous blogs here, nursing homes in particular make the loudest cry when it comes to calls for changes to the laws allowing for cameras in nursing homes, with one nursing home employee union representative stating that cameras in nursing homes “takes away from the professionalism” of nursing home employees and is “unfortunate and creepy and wrong.” Such acts clearly are not representative of the vast majority of nursing home employees who do their job ethically, lawfully and with compassion.

RISING RATE OF SENIOR FILERS

        In 2011 a noted bankruptcy legal scholar at the University of Michigan Law School published a working paper where he documented the rise in the rate of bankruptcy filing rates for elderly Americans.  While the overall rate was only seven percent of the bankruptcy filing population, the rate has increased 177 percent for the 65-74 age group and a staggering 566 percent for the 75 and older age group.  In May, 2015 the New York Times noted this new reality.  There are certainly many factors at play in this dynamic, including a witch’s brew of fixed income, rising medical costs and high credit card debt for a majority of the bankruptcy filers.  No doubt the recession of 2008, with its hard impact on housing and retirement was an additional major factor.  Bankruptcy also has a favorable treatment of social security and retirement income savings.

BANKRUPTCY OVERVIEW

A DEPLETED INSURANCE MARKET

        Many of us will likely find a need at some point with help for basic living functions due to infirmity, recovery from a catastrophic accident or simply from aging itself.  Things such as bathing, cooking, taking medicine are all necessities that need to be addressed.  These needs are currently being largely addressed through long term care services and support in nursing homes and community and home based programs.  It is estimated that over half of all elderly Americans will need to rely on these long term care services and support.  Long term care services and support is generally not considered medical care but rather assistance with everyday functional needs.  Medicare does not pay for such long term care services and support although Medicaid does.  Since Medicaid is a means based program, an individual must dwindle down his/her financial resources to obtain such benefits.  Given the large number of aging Americans Health Affairs Journal published a detailed study of the viability of insurance to cover this medical necessity.  Many individuals prefer not to think about the need for such eventualities, which only compounds the problem with financing such a service, since such needs are rarely prepared for.  Not surprisingly, such a product would likely only be affordable to upper middle class individuals.  The need for such an insurance product is important and growing in size.

COSTS INVOLVED

Donating an organ or even a whole body for scientific study or medical education is a relatively common event, which permits a person with perhaps a rare or not well understood disease to contribute to medical science.  Even if the person passes without a disease or any unique characteristics, medical schools need these volunteers for very important work.  Some people see their act as an act of charity, a way of giving a gift to society.  Organ donation helps to reach even more people by providing spare parts for surgeons, for those who need a replacement organ or tissue.  It has been estimated that 114,000 Americans are awaiting organ transplants and that one person is added to the list every 11 minutes and that each year 6,600 people die each year while on the organ transplant list.  

ANATOMICAL GIFTS PERMITTED VIA WILL

In 2005, the New York legislature passed a law which made it easier to give an anatomical gift.  Organ donation is easy enough now, as it can be a mere check the box designation on your driver’s license.  No additional signatures or witnesses are needed.  New York further permits a person to validly donate their organs or their whole body by way of will.  If the will is later invalidated, the donation is considered valid and any physician or medical school acting on the gift is shielded from liability.  Some people with religious or moral objections to donating their body may still decide to donate organs without violating their conscience or religion.  Even with these provisions in place, it is still best to discuss these decisions with your family and loved ones.  

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